Monday, October 16, 2006
Fausta Wertz has been tracking the voting at the United Nations, and it does not look good for Venezuela's bid to get on the Security Council. Hugo Chavez campaigned for Venezuela to win the position, hoping to turn the Security Council into a platform for anti-Americanism. In all likelihood, that's exactly why so many countries voted against him. Stratfor's evening letter had this to say:
Washington's big fear going into the Oct. 16 vote has not materialized. These fears centered on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has made world tour after world tour for the past several months, splashing around oil money in an attempt to occupy outgoing Argentina's seat for use as a bully pulpit with which to fulminate against the Bush administration for the next two years. Luckily for Washington, an informal coalition of Central American and European states has blocked Venezuela. The Central Americans support U.S.-backed candidate Guatemala (a country that belongs to their own geographic club), while the Europeans do not want to see the U.N. Security Council degenerate into little more than an arena for a two-year-long Venezuelan-American grudge match. In the four votes held Oct. 16, Venezuela garnered no more than 76 votes, whereas it needed a two-thirds majority of 128. (Guatemala, by contrast, peaked at 116 votes.)
Though Guatemala is certainly not destined to win, at this point Venezuela is destined to lose. Venezuela's checkbook diplomacy at the United Nations really only works when the checks are large and front-loaded. Caracas had its shot, and its tactics simply were not good enough. With the voting deadlocked, compromise candidates will now begin to make their own bids, and the race will become one between Guatemala and whoever else in Latin America is feeling lucky.
In a strange way, Hugo Chavez' "fire and brimstone" speech at the United Nations showed real contempt for the institution, which had to be upsetting for people who want the United Nations to accrete legitimacy rather than depreciate it. In other words, Europeans.
Chavez is another brilliant example of a self deluding despot. As unchallenged authority at home, his perceptions of himself and Venezuela viz. the US are demonstrably out of proportion. I am sure he will be surprised at his loss.
He will chalk it up to US bullying, no doubt, and go on carping.
The problem with Chavez is that he will NOT go away on his own. He's aiding and abetting Terrorists and will continue to do so.
No election in Venezuela will unseat this guy, he's leader for life. Weep for the people of his tattered country.